Recently, I came across a letter I received February 11, 1996 from a Fraternity Brother from San Diego, CA.  Earlier that year, I wrote him inquiring about a mentoring program that had been created by Omega Men in San Diego.  The name of that program was “Men of Quality”.  Omega Men across the country, especially in Louisville, were actively mentoring young black males.  We took notice that San Diego Brothers had formalized their mentoring efforts.  We (Omega Men in Louisville) also decided upon the “Men of Quality” name and moved on to create our long-standing mentoring efforts.

That 1996 letter reminded us that Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. was created with four cardinal principles; Manhood, Scholarship, Perseverance and Uplift.  Principles that Men of Omega are expected to strongly uphold.  So, it is refreshing now, in looking back twenty-one years, to know that the Men of Quality Organization is firmly rooted on Manhood, Scholarship, Perseverance and Uplift.

We continually inform our young mentees of their ascent to manhood, their need for scholarship, their drive for perseverance and the need to uplift others.  One of our Omega Brothers, Dr. Furman Glenn, a renowned retired Chemist, often gives a presentation entitled “What is a Man of Quality”.  Dr. Glenn cites over thirty characteristics of a Man of Quality.  I noted four of those characteristics relative to the cardinal principals:

Relative to Manhood, Dr. Glenn states that a man of quality is a free man of great courage!

Relative to Scholarship, he states that a man of quality must excel educationally!

Relative to Perseverance, a man of quality must work hard, work longer and work smarter than others!

Relative to Uplift, a man of quality must be loyal, supportive, trustworthy and provide for others!

Without fail, at every Men of Quality meeting in each of our schools, we instill elements of those principles and characteristic into students.  In 1996, we stood before the Jefferson County Board of Education and stated our goal:  To help young men set goals and to help them realize that the future belongs to those who are prepared.  Twenty-one years later, our aim remains the same!  We pledge our continued commitment to young men of color.  Now, more than ever, we realize the importance of strong African American Male role models!

—Audwin Helton